‘Bring his head’ someone shouted as she turned, reminding her that her job wasn’t completed until she presented his head as her trophy. She motioned towards where the sword was and picked it up. Then she went back to Marvin’s lifeless body and detached his head in few seconds.
She held it in palm, stretching it far away from her body as blood dropped to the floor from it. She looked around again for a second at all the Zonal Lords seated, then her eyes met with Vladimir. His eyes was full of expectations for her to do the last thing required to announce her victory before she came out to present her opponent’s head as a trophy. She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes as she raised the head up in display. The bell rang to signify the final victory.
There was a loud chant and round of applause from the young upcoming assassins. Even though most of them could not tell who won the battle, it was their custom to chant whenever a winner emerged from the bloodbath. The Lords present also chanted, especially the males. Vladimir, the zonal Lord’s shout was the loudest amongst them all. He rose up to welcome her as she proceeded towards the gate of the cage, one of the Nefary servants unlocked it before she got there.
She stepped out of the cage and proceeded towards Vladimir, a servant stood beside Vladimir with a tray to collect the head. She placed the head in the tray and stood behind Vladimir’s table, staring up straight into his eyes and waiting for his commendation.
‘You truly deserved the nickname Tarasha, ‘ Vladimir praised in his rough Russian accent. ‘I’m sure the name would be bequeathed to you when you finally get to be under the supervision of Mother Tarasha and you’ll be crowned as one of the queens, I’m sure you’ll be the one to take over from her when she dies.’
‘She’s still too young, we can’t say that yet.’ another zonal Lord seated close to Vladimir countered.
Vladimir flashed a quick look at him and smiled. Every zonal Lord spoke well of the machines in his own zone and didn’t hide their envy when they see one doing well from another zone. He sat back on the seat and dismissed Tara. Tara’s Tent Lord walked up to her and led her out of the Hardness Hall.
‘She has passed her second test of dead emotions,’ another zonal Lord seated at the left end of the long table said to Vladimir. ‘When are you showing her to Mother Tarasha?’
Vladimir flashed a quick look at him, he looked surprised at his colleague’s question. ‘That would be killing her,’ Vladimir began in defense. ‘She’s not ready yet, she still has lots of training to do and tests to pass.’
‘Then why exactly have you named her the Mother’s name when you know she’s not worthy yet?’ the first zonal Lord who countered Vladimir joined in.
‘I didn’t name her by the mother’s name, I only said she deserved the nickname.’ Vladimir argued.
‘That alone is equal to treason against the Clan,’ the zonal Lord shot back.
‘I have not in anyway said anything that…’ Vladimir tried to defend himself but someone interrupted. Vladimir knew he was wrong but he wasn’t the only one guilty of the crime. Other Lords from time to time also boasts and compares their machines to the Mother and even sometimes compare the males to the God of the Clan. He knew it was clear that Tara was doing too well for her age and other Lords were not too happy about it.
‘These machines aren’t ours and we shouldn’t let them cause rifts between us, they all belong to god Nefary.’ a zonal Lord seated at the center of the table cut Vladimir short. ‘We still have more battles for today which won’t happen if we stay here and argue about that tiny insect,’ he added, referring to Tara as the tiny insect. ‘Let the next battle begin,’ he ordered.
Vladimir and the other Zonal Lord shot cold looks at each other before facing the battle cage. Vladimir knew the danger he was in if the Queen gets to hear that she was compared with an unworthy machine . The other Zonal Lord was envious because he wanted a machine from his zone to emerge as the next junior queen which will also lead to promotion for him to the position of the Sub regional Lord which increases his chances of becoming a King or God of the Clan later in future.
The King of the Clan usually emerges from the regional Lords which is the position senior to the Sub Regional Lord in the Nefary hierarchy. The Zonal Lords are subject to a Sub Regional Lord while Sub Regional Lords are subjected to Regional Lords. Being only two Regions in Clan, they had only two Regional Lords. A new King emerges after the death of King by a war between the two Regions, involving every Lord under that Region except the Tent Lords. The Tent Lords, trainees and servants are excluded from the war. The winning Regional Lord emerges the new King after the death of the opponent Regional Lord and the regions are restructured.
Three months later
‘Tara, Tara…’ Omotara was asleep when she heard the gruff voice of her Tent Lord calling unto her. Sleepily, she rose from the bed and searched around the place for something with the aid of the very dim light provided, she found the short wrapper beside the girl who slept beside her and picked it up. She wrapped it around her waist to cover her loose undergarment as she proceeded towards the door.
She walked out of the tent to meet the Tent Lord waiting outside with two other men, all three of them were holding long wooden lamps lit up with burning fires at the edges.
‘You follow these men now, the Mother Queen needs your attention.’ the Tent Lord said to her in a trembling tone.
She stared at the men’s faces for a second and then at her Tent’s Lord, the look she got on his face made her turn back to the men immediately and step forward to them in obedience. They gestured for her to move forward while they followed behind with their lamps.
Tarasha continued without uttering a word, though she could sense that there was trouble in the air. At the same time, she had a feeling of excitement because the Mother Queen had called for her attention. Several stories have the girls been told about the Mother Queen and most of them admired and adored her even without seeing her yet. It became the dream of most of the girls to graduate into the stage where they would receive lessons from the Mother Queen herself. Now Tara was getting it at this midnight but for unknown reasons.
The sounds made by the insects, rodents and wild animals in the bushes did not scare the three as they walked through the tiny bush paths. A piece of wet leaf dropped on Tarasha’s chest as the cold breeze swept across the place heavily. She picked the green leaf from the top of her left breast where it stuck to and flung it away. She readjusted the straps of her bra which was the only thing covering her chest and for a moment fondled her breasts in her bra. She was now fifteen and the twins were developing as it should be. She was proud of them as they had been taught that having great bosoms was a great asset to female assassins.
They walked for more than an hour before they got to their destination. Tara was already sick of the journey as she felt like a goat being led to slaughter. It wasn’t the first time she or other girls would be woken up at midnight but it was always for a defined reason and with a defined duration of time to complete an assignment.
They finally entered into a very gigantic building through a door which appeared to small for the mightiness of the building. Inside the place chilling, the place seemed empty and their footsteps could be heard echoing as they walked through a narrow passage.
After walking for another three minutes, they came across the first human being all through their journey in a small brightly lit room. The man collected the lamps from the two men who brought Tara and said something to them in a Russian language which Tara understood fairly. The man was telling them that the Queen was already expecting them.
Whatever it was the Queen summoned her for, it must be something big, Tara thought to herself with a feeling of importance. She was still surprised that the Queen could be waiting for her at such an hour of the day.
One of the men knocked as they got in front of a tall wooden door. The door was opened from inside and he stepped in first, before calling in Tara and the other man. The Hall was brightly lit so Tara could see everything and everyone the way they were.
Tara needed no one to tell her who the Mother Queen was as she entered into the Hall. It wasn’t what she expected at all. The Mother Queen was black, a black American. She had thought the Mother Queen would be a Russian woman. The Mother Queen was however very beautiful, as beautiful as what had been described in the stories she had heard. Even though advanced in age, the Mother Queen still had a perfect slim body and beautiful eyes.
She had no crown on her head as expected but was only differentiated from the other Queens which sat at her both sides by the colour of her dress. She was putting on a short sleeve golden top which stopped right after covering her breasts and a long flowing white skirt which touched the floor from her sitting position.
All the Queens seated close to her also dressed the same way but theirs were red tops on black skirts. They all had beautiful but devilish looks just like the Mother Queen. There were very few men seated after the junior queens and Tarasha could recognize some of their faces; they were the Zonal Lords seated with Lord Vladimir few months ago at the Lover’s Bloodbath where she killed Marvin.
Her eyes searched around the place for Lord Vladimir and she finally found him but he wasn’t seated like the others, he was kneeling on the floor, faced down and tied with chains on his hands and legs.
The queens and Lord who seemed to be discussing something previously stopped and turned to the door after one of the Lords called their attention to Tara’s entrance. As Tara’s eyes met with the Mother Queen’s, she shivered and felt blood rushed through all the veins and arteries in her body.
‘Is that the machine?’ the Mother Queen asked, rising up to her feet to have a good view of Tara.
‘Yes, it is.’ one of the men seated replied.
Lord Vladimir raised his head at that point in time and his eyes met with Tara’s as she proceeded slowly forward following the direction of the man who ushered her in. Lord Vladimir kept an expressionless face, ready for what was about to befall him.
‘Come closer,’ the Queen said, mentioning her words slowly in a rather pleasant voice. ‘Stop,’ she ordered Tara when the latter was standing at the straight position to hers though they were still both far away. ‘She’s African,’ the Queen noted and looked at the men’s face for confirmation.
‘Yes my Queen,’ a Lord answered, bowing his head slightly.
The Mother Queen sat back on her seat and crossed her legs. ‘What’s your name?’ she asked in a calm voice which sounded very harmless to Tara.
‘Omotara, Omotara Danjuma.’ Tara mentioned her full.
The Queen turned to look at Lord Vladimir, ‘Sounds like you didn’t lie about that,’ she said before returning her gaze to Tara’s face. ‘I hear they call you Tarasha, how did you get that name?’ the Queen asked.
Tara glanced at Vladimir’s face and he turned away immediately.
‘You don’t lie to the Queen,’ Tara heard the Queen say as she turned back to her.
‘He calls me Tarasha,’ she replied, looking towards Vladimir.
‘When did he start?’
Tara turned again to look at Lord Vladimir. She turned back to the Queen with a narrow look, ‘He started on the first day he slept with me and every time after that he screams the name during the act,’ she stated and glanced at her Zonal Lord again.
‘Oh!’ the Queen smiled. ‘Did he tell you anything about that name?’
‘He did,’ Tarasha answered briefly. The look on the Queen’s face suggested she needed more explanation so she continued. ‘He said anyone he sleeps with gets glorified and ends up being queens in the clans.’
‘Did he also claim to have slept with all the queens in the clan?’
‘Yes, and his favorite was the Mother Queen.’ Tara answered.
The Queen’s face turned scary immediately and she turned to Vladimir who did not raise his head. ‘He disrespects the Queen,’ she said slowly. Then she turned towards the left and made a signal to a man there. The man stepped forward with a sword and submitted it to the Queen.
The Queen rose and motioned Tara forward, she handed the sword to the teenager and sat back. ‘Get me his head,’ she said and crossed her leg again.
Without waisting time, Tara took out the sword and proceeded to Lord Vladimir. The man had already raised up his head to make the job easier for her. The sword slid through his neck and his head fell off to one side, the body following slowly after.
Tara turned back to face the Queen as she turned the sword down to allow the blood drip from it.
‘I still think he trained you well,’ the Queen commented, looking straight into the teenager’s eyes. ‘I’m Mother Tarasha, the highest Queen in the Nefary Clan, highest Assassin in the Land second only to Lord Nefary. The Second of the Order of Tarasha, the greatest Queen Assassins on the face of the earth. Nobody takes the name Tarasha except she proves worthy and be crowned first. And she who answers the name unworthily is worthy of death.’ she paused for a moment and licked her lower lip briefly. ‘And here is my judgement, by morrow, you would be led to death by one of the Queens as she deems fit.’
With that, Tara was yanked away by two strong hands and led out of the hall. She found herself thrown onto the cold floor of a dark room where she spent the rest of the night.
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She slept peacefully through out the night instead of panicking like someone who had just been given a death sentence. The room was fairly bright when she woke up. She could tell it was dawn already and could hear footsteps outside the room she was in. She sat up and looked around, the place was empty. The old walls were designed with scary paintings of human skulls, skeletons and dangerous weapons. Tara wondered how she had been able to sleep there without having nightmares.
She looked towards the door and noticed it wasn’t locked. She was surprised at that. She was supposed to be a convicted person already sentenced to death and to be executed that day, so it felt odd that they didn’t lock the door to prevent her from trying to escape.
She sat still on the floor, thinking about the Nefary Clan and how she was going to miss the girls. Even though they had been warned severally against it, the girls still grew attached to each other. She thought about what death would feel like, will she be translated into another realm of life like she had been made to believe before been brought to the Nefary Clan or was death just the end and nothing else after? She couldn’t tell, only after she died will she find the answer to her questions.
She rose up and proceeded towards the door. She opened it slowly, trying not to make any sound and peeped out. The corridor was empty but she could hear footsteps approaching again, this time it sounded like the pointed part of a lady’s heels. She closed back the door lightly and hid behind it trying to see through the tiny line between the door and the frame.
A knock sounded on the door and she shifted back shakily, afraid that she had been discovered. ‘Do not waste my time any longer, come out and follow me now,’ a lady’s voice sounded at the door and soon the footsteps began to fade away in the other direction. She opened the door and stepped out into the corridor to be sure she was the one being talked to. Then she saw a tall lady corporately dressed in the Englishman’s style, walking towards the exit at the left side of the corridor. ‘Follow me,’ the lady turned sharply and snapped. Tara hurried after her immediately.
After two minutes walk, she was led into another section of the building which looked modern compared to the other parts. It had the floors expensively tiled and the walls neatly painted and decorated. The doors and windows were made of transparent sliding glasses and they opened automatically as they got to them. The atmosphere smelt nice and the whole place was fully air conditioned. The last time Tara entered into that kind of environment was nine years ago in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos in Nigeria. She found it hard to believe that somewhere like that existed in the Nefary Clan’s city.
Tarasha took a look at herself and discovered that she was looking too odd for such an environment. The lady who was leading her was putting on a black trouser suit and had her hair neatly plaited. Tara could also perceive the strong scent of her perfume as they walked on.
They entered into a place which was neatly arranged as a living room and seated on one of the sofas was another smartly dressed lady, she rose up immediately she saw them enter and proceeded towards Tara’s guide with an Android phone. Tara couldn’t but open her mouth in surprise, that was her first time of seeing a mobile phone after several years.
‘Marie Wayne speaking,’ Tara’s guide said into the phone she collected from the other lady. She left Tara standing and sank into one of the sofas comfortably, crossing her legs.
Tara was amazed as she beheld the beauty of the Lady sitting before her. She recognized her to be one of the junior queens she saw sitting with the mother Queen at midnight but her beauty then could not be compared to what could be seen now. She did not just look like a goddess in human skin but also spoke and acted like one.
‘He’ll be dead before nine o’clock tonight,’ she said into the phone before hanging up. She uncrossed her legs and then looked up at the lady they met in the living room, ‘Here’s the girl, go dress her up.’ she said.
The other lady nodded courteously and turned, motioning Tara to follow her.
‘Rulian, what’s up man?’ Tara could hear the woman sitting speaking to someone else on phone. ‘C’mon you dog, It’s Tarasha.’ Omotara tried to listen even as she followed the lady leading her out of the living room. She wondered why the queen in the living room was referring to herself as Tarasha when it was supposed to be the name for the Mother Queen.
‘She’s not more than sixteen years old, I want the three of you to bang her mercilessly until she bleeds to death.’
Omotara stopped in shock as she heard those last words, wondering if she was the one being talked about. Fear gripped her mind for the first time since she heard her death sentence, she wasn’t afraid to die but dying the way the junior Queen had chosen for her was definitely not going to be an easy experience.
…to be continued